Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mulefoot madness: smoking and slow cooking

So we came up with a name for our potted ham hock, which my Omnivore had jokingly referred to as SPAM.

"But it's smoked and potted ham hock," I said.

"Spam, smam, smock?" he suggested.


That one stuck. So it is now officially "Spock".

Here's the hock after brining for five days in a Wiltshire cure and then drying in our fridge for three more days. Right there, it tasted pretty fine. We trimmed a thin slice off the end and ate that. Then we trimmed off some more and ate that. Then we... Well you get the picture.

But we had a potted ham mission.

So into the stovetop smoker with a tablespoon each of oak and maple wood chips and smoke for 20 minutes.

At this stage also it was pretty fine. The color just kept getting better. But again we were on a mission.

So into the slow cooker with about five pounds of Manteca or lard and cook on low for twelve hours. The lard we used is the same that we've used for carnitas, which we cook in the manteca with orange peel, Mexican oregano, cinnamon and coriander, so even though we didn't spice the ham hock it wound up with a delicious spicy aroma.

And after 11 hours? Let's just say "falling off the bone." so good it's evil.

So we shred the meat with two forks and also pour the fat and juices into a bowl to chill overnight.

In the morning, final step--only ten days later. To begin, we run a knife around the inside of the bowl witht the fat and juices and invert the bowl. You should find the juices have not only separated from the lard but that they've also gelled into a tasty jello of pork juice. Peel off the pork jello and mix it into the shredded meat. If it seems a bit dry you can always add in some lard.

Spread on bread or crackers and enjoy-- we made them into little tea sandwiches which were DEE-lish.

- Posted from my iPhone


Randy said...

Never tasted anything finer. To me it was worth all of your hard work!

ME said...

:) Thanks! When you start out with only the finest....manohman -- mulefoot all the way!

I Own The Internet said...

I like the sound of that ham, it looks so tasty, and the origins of it are so apparent in the authenticity with which it was cooked, its like looking at fine dining being done in such an approachable way that we can all take inspiration from it.
I tell you one thing, perhaps you should look at my page and you would find that I look at food in a similar way sometimes, sometimes I even look at news stories or current events.